County hires engineers for Florence school removal

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met Friday, Sept. 30, in a $927,897 payday session with $459,073 designated for county payroll.

The county clerk’s office reported receipt of regular sales tax from the state for July sales of $59,488 and of special jail bond tax of $51,988.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to employ EBH & Associ­ates, an engineering firm at multiple Kansas locations such as Wichita, Pratt and Great Bend, to oversee cleanup of materials and building debris at the former Florence school building.

Darin Neufeld, engineer for EBH, said costs of the project would depend on final presence of high contaminant wastes such as asbestos, but he believes in this case, costs will be at a low end.

Requests of salvaged materials for other projects will be considered, he said, but much of wished-for reuse items won’t be usable.

The commissioners voted for Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers to proceed with a project of $6,000 to $7,000 to replace computer servers in the courthouse.

Mike Beneke, feedlot operator and commission candidate from northeast Marion County, asked that commissioners do better consideration for hiring successor employees for retiring personnel sooner to promote training.

After discussing aircraft pictometery needed for such uses as appraisal and emergency response about every three years, the commissioners decided that leaving out less changing, lower-population parts of the county to save money wouldn’t be cost effective, especially if those parts required special data collection if something happened.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge area fuel bid of $8,943 for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $9,091.40 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

They approved purchase and installation of an 80 percent efficiency heating and cooling system with an air conditioning unit for $3,347 from among different designs by Swan’s Refriger­ation & Air Conditioning and a competitive price of $6,270 from Suffield’s Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, both of Marion.

Members of the Economic Development Taskforce—Chris Hernan­dez, Craig Dodd, Tammy Ensey, Russell Groves, Jim Hefley, Roger Holter and Jared Jost—asked the commissioners to consider what they believe are the top 10 challenges faced by elected officials:

• Sustained economic activity in the county,

• Maintaining and improving aging infrastructure;

• Providing both a public and private workforce to ensure safety and prosperity;

• Ever more productive budgets in light of declining revenues;

• Educational support and workforce skills development;

• Quality and affordable housing to fulfill the needs of an expanding community;

• Effectively engaging and managing data technology including emerging social media;

• Providing environmental and utility solutions on a generational basis;

• Engaging the changing demographics on a local and regional basis;

• Ensuring healthcare access and service to the community.

The commissioners met in executive session for five minutes for personnel regarding employee family leave, for five minutes for personnel with Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm, and for 10 minutes for attorney-client privilege with County Attorney Susan Robson.